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Leiden Shorts

Leiden, The Netherlands

article by Emilia Mazik

Introduction

If you think that you can name all the interesting film festivals in The Netherlands, double check if your list includes Leiden Shorts. This small but dynamically developing festival is The Netherlands in a nutshell — in all its openness, diversity and awareness of the complexity of social life. Its roots reflect the authenticity of the initiative: founded in 2009 as Leiden International Short Film Experience, it was the result of a collaboration between five expats intrigued by the short film format. Their founding meeting took place at the University of Leiden, to this day linking Leiden Shorts to the Academic world, which only adds depth to the festival's context and discourse and spices it up with a typical student energy. After twelve years, this experience has evolved into a clearly formatted event with international allure.

The most frequently used terms to describe the city of Leiden are cozy or charming, but it doesn’t seem to stop the festival programmers from asking uncomfortable questions about the world of social injustice, growing inequalities or mercilessly pointing out the ecological challenges we're all facing. Therefore, Leiden Shorts' film selection is usually accompanied by a rich public programme, engaging in nuanced discussions with invited experts, artists & performers. The desire to collide various perspectives is arguably their greatest strength. But let's not forget the festival primarily delivers a joyful shared cinematic experience, to enjoy in a summery weekend in June.